Am I a skeptic? Absolutely — but only when it comes to ridiculous concepts. I am inclined to doubt the existence of the Bloody Mary, the Headless Horseman, and of God. I find such concepts to be ridiculous given their mythical nature. The three are the product of the human mind, but mankind tends to create and forget it has created.
To some, a slap to the face may be a highly unpleasant experience; however, to others, a slap to the face may be a pleasurable experience. Those who derive pleasure from suffering physical pain are swept under the term ‘masochist’. In order for one to understand why a person would willingly subject themselves to physical pain, one needs to understand what ‘pain’ is, as well as why it is perceived and felt differently amongst human beings.
The impact an experience with pain has on one’s psychological state can heavily influence a person’s perception and interpretation of pain. It is necessary to look at the subjective psychological conditions that may influence an individual’s action or reaction although examining it through a philosophical lens can result in the realization that pain is not solely a psychological event.
My project in this piece is to question D.C. Dennett’s notion of pain by challenging his definition of pain with the case of the masochist. More particularly, I shall explore different ways of understanding a masochist’s reaction to pain by employing the modes of thinking proposed by Donald Davidson and Jennifer Hornsby.
The human mind produces memories that have similar functions to a time machine.
Although one cannot physically go from the present time to the past or from the present to the future, one is able to recall past events and form future ones. This type of mental time traveling gives human beings an adaptive advantage since people are able to recall past events, correct the error of their ways, and learn what to avoid and how to avoid the same situations in the future.
For instance, our ancestors learned how to cultivate food and dress properly for given weathers which in turn led to adaptation to any given conditions. Now people avoid repeating our ancestors’ mistakes. Also, when found in any type of quandary, a human being can think back to see what someone in the same situation before them had done in order to handle the situation. The decision derived from that is later applied to their future which in a sense is a way of adapting to world situations.
The human race could not have advanced as much as it has if it were not for mentally reliving the past in order to prelive the future. Many of the decisions people make now are based on precedent in order to create a better future. That is how laws are made and that is how people learn to adapt to situations.
The human mind has been conditioned to travel back to the past in order to find answers for the future. Our memory allows us to look at past errors and apply what we have learned to the betterment of our future. The advancement of the human race is solely based on remembering the past in order to progress, which puts us at an advantage when compared to other living beings since we have the ability to recall the past and plan our future.